Virtual Marine Scientist

Research project

Short description

Do you want your secondary school students to understand how science really works in the lab and how research is carried out? Do you want them to investigate and learn about pressing marine environmental issues? In that case, Virtual Marine Scientist (VMS) is what you need!

About the research project

The Virtual Marine Scientist project aims to familiarise students (16‐19 years) with the concrete conditions in which scientists work and research is carried out. In this virtual environment, students discover how to design and run experiments in environmental science. Virtual Marine Scientist offers a stimulating context in which to learn about experimental work, including elements of cooperation and problem solving.

When entering the Virtual Marine Scientist virtual environment, users take on the role of a new PhD student working in a lab focusing on marine environmental issues. Students will learn about the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on species such as mussels, as well as formulate a hypothesis and apply for funding to test their hypothesis. The teacher receives the students’ application, review them and allocate funding according to the quality of the suggested hypothesis and experiment. When students’ application is successful, they will then design their own experiments, deciding how many aquaria to use, what pH and temperature to test, and what species to study. They will also select which parameters to measure (respiration, growth, feeding, survival) and at what frequency, while at the same time needing to respect their allocated budget. After setting up the experiment, they will need to make sure that the ‘technician’ knows how to measure each parameter. Students will then receive the data from their experiments, analyse them with their peers in the classroom and finally present their findings.

Although the Virtual Marine Scientist environment can be used free of charge, an account is required. To receive your Virtual Marine Scientist Login ID, please send us your email address and we will then contact you with further details.

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